The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
Tehran summons UK ambassador on 'illegal interception' of 'Iran tanker' by Gibraltar Open in fullscreen

The New Arab & agencies

Tehran summons UK ambassador on 'illegal interception' of 'Iran tanker' by Gibraltar

Supertanker Grace 1 suspected of carrying crude oil to Syria detained off Gibraltar [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 4 July, 2019

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
Iran is protesting the 'illegal interception' off the coast of Gibraltar of an Iranian oil tanker suspected of carrying crude oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.

Iran summoned the British ambassador in protest at the UK's "illegal interception" of an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar on Thursday, the foreign ministry said.

The British territory's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said earlier that a supertanker suspected of carrying crude oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions was detained in Gibraltar.

"After the illegal interception of an Iranian oil tanker in the Strait of Gibraltar by the English naval force, that country's ambassador to Tehran was summoned to the foreign ministry," said the ministry's spokesman Abbas Moussavi.

Authorities in Gibraltar did not say where the oil came from but specialised shipping trade publication Lloyd's List said the Panamanian-flagged tanker was thought to be transporting crude from Iran to the Baniyas Refinery in Syria.

The refinery is under the control of Bashar al-Assad-linked authorities and subject to the EU's Syrian Sanctions Regime. The EU, and others, have imposed sanctions on Assad's regime over its continued crackdown against civilians. They currently target 270 people and 70 entities.

According to the data firm Refinitv, the vessel likely carried just over 2 million barrels of Iranian crude oil. Tracking data showed that the tanker made a slow trip around the southern tip of Africa before reaching the Mediterranean.

The incident comes at a sensitive time as the European Union mulls how to respond to Iran announcing it will exceed the maximum uranium enrichment level it agreed in a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

Washington abandoned the deal between Tehran and world powers last year and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic's crucial oil sales as well as other parts of the economy.

The Grace 1 tanker was halted by police and customs agencies in Gibraltar, a small rocky outcrop on Spain's southern tip.

They were aided by a detachment of British Royal Marines.


Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More